Having been successful with all our launches last year, we'd like to make continue our steady progress this year. Three rockets are waiting for launch at the beginning of the year, and four more after April. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly, without delays.
Planting seeds for the future is also very important. Satellites for Earth observation and environmental measurement will be further developed this year.
In addition, we are planning more collaboration with the private sector. We are considering the use of small satellites, which can now be produced by nongovernmental bodies. And we would like to set up a program to help manufacturers test components and materials in space more economically, by providing launch opportunities. A small satellite launch can piggyback on that of a large satellite if there is enough room, so the private sector will benefit if we can release information about launch timing and orbit direction in advance. If nongovernmental bodies are given sufficient notice, they will have enough time to plan to participate. We would like to provide this opportunity to other Asian countries as well.
Launching three rockets in just 31 days, in January and February, is the main event for this year: first, the Advanced Land Observing Satellite, ALOS, by H-IIA F8 on January 19; next, the Multi-functional Transport Satellite 2, MTSAT-2, by H-IIA F9 on February 15; and finally the Infrared Astronomy Satellite, ASTRO-F, by M-V-8 on February 18. We are using two H-IIA rockets and one M-V rocket, and although the launch locations will be different, we have never attempted to launch as many as three rockets in one month.
We are hoping to be able to launch rockets regularly in the future, so this is our rehearsal. It is quite challenging for those who are in charge, as we cannot make it happen without overcoming many difficulties. We have been preparing very hard since the end of last year, and would like to demonstrate our capability of operating two launches at the same time.
H-IIA Launch Vehicle
M-V Launch Vehicle
It is absolutely imperative to keep the Japanese people informed about JAXA's activities. Last year was very successful in that sense, with Astronaut Noguchi's flight on the space shuttle and Hayabusa's arrival on Itokawa. Taking advantage of this increased public profile, we will create opportunities for meeting with the public through regular JAXA Town Hall Meetings, for example. Since journalists act as an important bridge between JAXA and the public, we need to release as much information as possible to the media. In addition, JAXA will make greater efforts to educate the public about aerospace development.
Thank you for your continued support this year.